Compare if you will:
“August 5, 2008, 3:16 PM ET
According to a source Matthew Barnaby may be announced soon as the replacement for Barry Melrose at ESPN, and Pierre Lebrun will be joining ESPN.com as a hockey writer as well.
I have many more opinions about this, but I will reserve them for now until this news becomes official.
I am currently tying up the loose ends on a major blog, but one of my sources involving what has been called to me by three other sources as, “Serious Upper Management Leafs News” has yet to get back to me.
A source has gotten back to me to inform me that the Leafs GM job may be “filled by someone currently outside the organization” by next Friday, the 15th of August.”
August 10, 2008, 4:44 PM ET
“Cliff Fletcher….a source told me today that it looks less and less likely that Fletcher isn’t the GM of the Leafs for a “a few more seasons.”
The Source said, “There are some pretty confused people by many of Fletcher’s moves. And yet it also is widely looked at the Cliff may actually be setting things up to stay in the GM role for a while.”
That to me is staggering and while I hate to trigger panic in Toronto, coming from this source….this was disturbing to me. And I am NOT a Leafs fan.”
There is an old strategy in the litigation that I am pretty sure Ek subscribes to. It says that if you throw enough charges at the wall, one of them will be sure to stick. With Ek, if he throws enough names, teams, rumors out there, from time to time he will get one right. I have been tracking Ek for some time and am scoring him for a later report. While at first (and for awhile) this will prove successful for EK, over time the fable of the little boy who cried wolf will come to fruition and people will stop listening.
So while it is entirely possible that over a 5 day span the guy did hear 2 totally different views on the Leafs GM, it just doesn’t seem likely. More so, once again there is no story here. The Leafs have said Cliff is here for the foreseeable future; until such a time as the right candidate is hired. Lets suppose, and you need to give me some leeway here, but, lets suppose the Leafs have a successful campaign. The leeway is needed in that I am not quite sure what will qualify as a successful season but will soon have to come up with some goals etc. Anyway, assuming we all can kind of agree on some criteria for the 08-09 Buds to achieve in order to call the campaign a success.(YES I know anything short of a stanley cup shouldn’t be considered a success….but, i digress). Lets say for example, the young players play well. The Leafs fail to make the playoffs but play hard, they compete and they don’t get blown out ugly at home all year.
If that is a success, would it be the worst thing in the world if Cliff did stay on? I am not arguing for it, nor am I preaching for it. All I am saying is that the logic in Ek’s article is flawed. I don’t think leaf fans are clamoring for Cliff to be gone. We are desperate for a foundation to be laid upon which a successful franchise will ensue for years to come. IF, and I repeat IF Cliff starts that, then who cares? Assume for one tiny second that one of these 2 stories written less then 5 days apart is valid , I won’t be panicking, will you? Does he not remember what we just went through with JFJ? Remember one thing Leaf fans. MLSE has lots of cash. Boatloads of it to be exact. So if they have to pay off an executive from time to time, so be it. This won’t effect the team one bit. If they announced a long term deal for Cliff tomorrow (and I am not suggesting they will), I argue that it is nothing more then optics, and has no bearing on their ability or inability to land another candidate down the road. Why? To get rid of Fletcher, or anyone else for that matter it will only cost them cash.
What I don’t understand is why this is even newsworthy right now. It appears to me that EK, like lots of folks, is finding this summer increasingly difficult to find topics to write about. Truth be told, Toronto is one of the few markets where you say hockey or Maple Leaf and you are sure to gather a crowd to listen, watch or read. The Fletcher/Leaf GM story has 0 appeal in any other hockey market. The diehard fan in Florida could careless about it. The crazed Minnesota Wild fan who visits Ekbuzz on a daily basis could care less too. So you know he is catering to his largest market, Toronto.
The best part of this story is that the big announcement that we were all panicked about, the one that was set to come before this coming Friday, is obviously no longer an issue. Phewwwww, there’s one less thing to worry about.